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how to make the NBA?

who do I talk to? which college should I register at? what drills should I practice?

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To: Friend
Subject: Career question for you


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Michael’s Answer

Hey Miguel,

So to be clear, I am NO NBA scout or NBA professional. you are competing against millions of other athletes trying to reach the NBA level of basketball. The NCAA says only about 1.2% of college men's basketball players get drafted by an NBA team. To be eligible for the NBA draft, you be at least 19 years old during the calendar year of the draft and have been at least one year removed from graduation, if not an "international player". With that being said there isn't 1 way to be drafted or sign on with an NBA team with "un-drafted" status.

If you are looking to make it to the NBA you should definitely follow your dream but realize you need to put your all into that goal. I have worked on the NBA2k Video Game for more than 15 years and worked with a number of high profile NBA players and even bench players. I also film an NBA basketball trainer to create social media content for their profile and get a chance to speak to a number of athletes from every level of the game.

Common things I find are:
1. The pro players developed a skill or niche in their game and became an elite at that skill. For example Chris Paul is an amazing playmaker or passer and can get other players to score.

2. The amateur players like middle school or college players have raw talent and may not fully grasp what their skills are or how to use them efficiently. For example Derrick Rose in high school had unbeatable speed and could attack the basket to score through a number of defenders however that takes the ball away from other players (teammates) on the court.

My Recommendations:
Again I am no NBA scout but some common things I see other players do or talk about is they continued to develop their game such as physical ability like ball handling, speed, vertical but also learn the game on a deeper level. Try and learn more about plays that your favorite NBA team or college likes to run. Learn what your position should be doing in these plays and how your style of play would work in different situations and help a team. Learn how to watch film and understand what player tendencies are and places you could attack after discovering opposing players faults on the court. This will put you at a level beyond the physical and will also improve your basketball IQ which is very valuable.

During the NBA off-season there are a number of NBA players who hold basketball camps to help up and coming players develop their skills. For example Steph Curry and Chris Paul host camps every summer where they cover drills, discuss winning mindsets and allow players to ask them about how they got to where they are. They can be pricey but they allow you to be among your peers and the best in the country as well as test your limits and discover more about your game. If you go to enough of them, you see the same players and you make friends who have common goals.

This is a great way to find out information about any field, not just basketball but film, law, marketing and so on. With social media making the world a smaller place, use that to your advantage and try to interview trainers who train NBA players, coaches and even the NBA player themselves (if they respond). This will give you so much insight to how they got to their position and possibly help you discover what you may want to do with your basketball career. There are also a ton of NBA player hosted podcasts that reveal the same information so try that too.

Again I can't stress enough how social media has made the world smaller, but with brands like "Ball Is Life" and "Made Hoops", there is a huge love for watching basketball edits and clips. With that being said, start working on building your social media profile as a basketball talent. Capture your training sessions and show people your dedication. Capture your games and show potential on looking scouts and colleges your playing ability. If you go to any camps or basketball programs, get a highlight reel made of your experience to show that you're going to all the same camps that the countries elite middle school or highschool players are going to. I have personally seen how powerful social media content is for example, I filmed an NBA player working out with a skills trainer who was unsigned for a short while and wanting an NBA contract. We created 2-3 IG reels and posted them on the trainers page (who has 1.2 million followers), and the player got signed to the Bucks for the start of the 2023-2024 season just because the team saw the clips. Social media is powerful and is not going anywhere, so use it to your advantage.

Work on all aspects of your game! Seek knowledge to help develop the IQ part of your game while working on the physical. Look for trainers that can help push your limits and look for basketball camps that will do the same but also put you around your peers. Use social media to show the world that you're serious about your basketball career and what you have to offer. You never know who will see your clips or who might reach out to offer help or their story. lastly ask a TON of questions that you can research to help give you a better understanding of the game.

Questions like, If you have a favorite NBA player, what college did they go to? Do you want to go to that college? Is it a big college or smaller college? Who was their coach? What highschool did they go to?

Start to ask more questions about the sport that you love and want to build a career in. This will teach you a lot about what you are getting yourself into and where you want to go with your basketball career.

Hopefully this helps!